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I Was Roasted By A Comedian At An Open Mic. What Happened Next Surprised Me.
Let this be a lesson to anyone who may get torched
I would consider myself a comedy nerd. I’ve memorized Maniscalco’s best bits, perfected Mark Normand’s little head movements, even read all of Colin Quinn’s show transcripts—he’s the master of the art form. So I’d say it’s completely within my character that I went to check out some of Brooklyn’s hottest open mics, to see what was going on and where the future of the industry lay. What I did not expect, however, was egg on my face. This is my story.
I had just made myself a bowl of spicy tteokbokki, and needed something to do that evening.
It was a quiet Monday night at Efficiency Mic, in the back room of a bar that I normally would not have checked out in a neighborhood I don’t usually find myself in (I’m more of a frequent patron of the Gotham Comedy Club). Outside of the hosts (who struck me as a couple of genuine weirdos…), the gimmick was that they kept a tight hour, and that each comedian’s allotted time would be determined by the number of people in attendance—the more people there, the less time everyone had, and so on. Funny, I thought to myself. I was keeping an open mind.
Then an Indian man named Bryson began his set.
He began as expected: “Immigrant parents be like…”; “When I told my parents I wanted to be a comedian, they asked me if I was mispronouncing the word ‘lawyer’”; “Who else’s mom was obsessed with The Evil Eye?” etc. I laughed dutifully enough, and I was sitting in the front row, so I thought it would mean something to Bryson. But then he trained his gimlet eye on my ass.
It was then that I realized I was in a tornado of pain, and it would be much longer before I could be freed from The Comic’s Wrath.
He looked at me and said, “This guy knows what I’m talking about.” I’d heard that one before, but he kept looking at me. And then he kept going.
“Yo, this is one goofy looking motherfucker. Aziz Ansari lookin’ ass! Who let this guy in? Did someone tell him this wasn’t a hackathon?”
I laughed again, wanting to show that I was fine with being lightly ribbed for my appearance. This freedom to cook my crusty ass is part and parcel of the jester’s privilege.
He paced to the other side, then took a long pause. I could see his time was coming to an end, but it didn’t seem like he was close to being done.
“You’ve ruined my set. Just the fact that I saw your face, and I couldn’t resist making fun of it. Ruined it. Agh, where do I go from here? It’s like, I could keep going; I have some other jokes about arranged marriage lined up. I could do those. But all I can think about is you, dude. And your outfit. Your jeans don’t fit well. And your shoes are so washed. Is your hair thinning, too? Goddamn. What do I even choose to make fun of you about?”
I made a big show of laughing and throwing my hands up. The clock had run out on his time, but to my dismay, the hosts let Bryson keep going.
“Here’s something else: with your bald lookin’ ass! Right? Does anyone else want to clown on this little bitch with me? When’d you wash that hoodie last—2012? I mean! Right? It looks so dusty. He looks so dusty. With your dusty ass! Shaqtin’ a fool by walking in here, man. You think you could go to an open mic and not get torched? You think I’m not taking one look at you and wrecking your shit up and down main street? That I’m not sending your dusty ass to Kingdom Come? You better believe I am. And I bet—nay, I implore every other comic to defy their base instincts, and to not do the same. It’s impossible! You take one look at this mf and the only thing you can taste is bile and the only thing you can think of is the Holocaust. Because of how awful your vibe is. You genuinely make me feel atrocious. I hate looking in your general direction, because I know your energy is just lurking around the corner of my peripheral vision. Were you abandoned by your parents? Because I know I would, if I were them. I would leave you at the 24-Hour Fitness and go about my merry day. I would rather marry a dog than marry you. If we were picking teams on the playground for kickball, I’d pick the lunch lady before ever letting you near my team. I’m so angry that I know you exist now. Life was so much sweeter two minutes ago, and now the rest of my life is going to be a complete shithole. Man. I’ve never experienced something like this. Such visceral disgust coursing through my veins. I did a little key bump before this and toasting your bitchass is making me more amped than that did. I’m literally roasting you on a spit over an open flame, my man, Dead Man’s Chest-style. Except this time? Will Turner and the crew of The Black Pearl aren’t on a Chaplin-esque, highly choreographed, slapstick quest to save you from my clutches. You’re locked in my tight grasp, and I don’t even know what to do with you. God. You’re so ugly.”
I tried to smile and laugh it off.
After the mic ended, I walked up to Bryson and asked if he would like to sit outside and chat.
Bryson said yes. I wanted to break bread with him, hopefully find some common ground in this highly politicized age, maybe discuss the Palestinian conflict. Then when he came outside to meet me (I had purchased two Founders’ All Day IPAs for us), he proceeded to beat my ass. He whooped the shit out of me, worked me, went to town on my puny frame, made me go night-night, showed me who God was. I went home that night a bit sad.
Later that week, I sent Bryson a DM on Instagram apologizing for being at the open mic—what happened next surprised me.
Bryson then posted a screenshot of my self-flagellating DM on Twitter, and he then went viral. He has now been signed by CAA, I believe.
Lol dude you’re not balding lmao